What's in a name? That which we call high-fructose corn syrup by any other name would taste as sweet — but not exactly, because high-fructose corn syrup is not sugar, according to the FDA.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today denied a Corn Refiners Association (CRA) petition to rename high-fructose corn syrup "corn sugar," citing consumer health concerns and inaccuracy.
Specifically, the FDA says the term “sugar” cannot accurately identify or describe high-fructose corn syrup, a product that is a syrup.
Also, consumers already associate dextrose with “corn sugar,” a term used to describe dextrose for more than 30 years, the FDA says.
The FDA decision goes on to say that granting the CRA petition could endanger consumer health, especially those with hereditary fructose intolerance or fructose malabsorption, who have been advised to avoid ingredients that contain fructose. Changing the name to 'corn sugar' could put these individuals at risk and pose a public health concern.
"The FDA's ruling represents a victory for American consumers," says Dan Callister, an attorney for the plaintiffs in the ongoing litigation. "It reaffirms what most consumer advocates, health experts and policy officials have been saying all along: only sugar is sugar. High-fructose corn syrup is not sugar."
The FDA ruling — issued in a letter to CRA President Audrae Erickson — rejected the arguments made in the CRA's petition, filed Sept. 14, 2010.
The CRA had asked the FDA to grant the name change after launching a multimillion dollar advertising and marketing campaign arguing that sugar and high-fructose corn syrup are identical.
In return, U.S. sugar farmers and refiners launched more than a year of litigation to stop the CRA's campaign, a lawsuit still pending in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.